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Development Bank of Jamaica to provide $7.39 billion in MSME loans

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has targeted loans of $7.39 billion to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) during the 2020/21 fiscal year.

As stated in the Public Bodies Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending March 2021, the sum is approximately $2.71 billion more than the $4.07 billion for 2019/20.

The document indicates that the sum for the current fiscal year includes the equivalent of US$15.36 million, up from US$7.5 million in 2019/20.

Additionally, it includes $5.3 billion, which is just over $2 billion more than the $3.1 billion programmed for the last fiscal year.

The loans are in addition to technical assistance, grants, and collateral support by the Bank to MSMEs.

The DBJ will also promote sustainable and robust growth among MSMEs and business start-ups under the US$50-million Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded Boosting Innovation in Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) project, which is slated to be launched this year.

The initiative aims to: stimulate innovation and productivity among MSMEs with growth potential; promote sustainable and disruptive growth in scalable start-ups; and create a sustainable pipeline of high-growth potential start-ups and supporting entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Meanwhile, the DBJ will continue to pilot divestment of the Government’s non-core assets and improve utilisation of current State assets, via public-private partnerships (PPPs), to reduce associated expenditure.

The entities on which work will continue are the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) and Nutrition Products Limited (NPL) as well as the Government’s stake in the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS).

These engagements are expected to contribute to the Administration’s policy objective of improving broad-based ownership of former government assets, while benefiting from private-sector investments.

The DBJ projects a net surplus of $585.6 million from activities this year, some $55.9 million more than 2019/20.

These include reducing its bad debt portfolio by closely monitoring the performance of new loans and continued implementation of strategies to dispose of and recover bad debts; driving the growth of mortgage indemnity by adding at least one new mortgage-granting institution to the number of approved lenders, with the Bank looking to issue 120 new instruments valued at $144 million per annum.